James Graham was the son of Captain Dugald Graham of the Northern Lighthouse Service and Fishery Board. He was educated at George Watson's College and Edinburgh University and graduated MBChB in 1904. In 1919, he was awarded the Chiene Medal for his ChM thesis on Blood Transfusion and, in the same year, he was appointed as assistant surgeon in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
He was noted for his work on thyroid surgery, especially for the surgical removal of a toxic gland at a time when it was a much more dangerous and difficult operation than it is now. He had a reputation also for his work on pharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and oesophageal lesions and, throughout his life, he sustained his interest in the blood transfusion movement.
After he retired from active practice he continued his involvement in surgical matters. He was chairman of the Edinburgh Postgraduate Board for Medicine for nine years.
He was President from 1945 to 1947.
A noted rugby player in his day, he was held in affectionate regard by all. He was courteous, considerate, kind and possessed great professional skill.
Lancet; 1962; v1; p649-50
Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; 1962; v7; p231-2
British Medical Journal; 1962; v1; p881-2
Scottish Medical Journal; 1962; v7; p196